Posts Tagged ‘Beatles’

Literary mashups are taking over the world.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

And now…be still, my heart…the undead hordes have finally(!) smiled upon the GREATEST BAND in the UNIVERSE.

It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.

They’ve been going in and out of style, But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.

So may I introduce to you, the act book you’ve known waited for all these years…

PAUL IS UNDEAD: THE BRITISH ZOMBIE INVASION by Alan Goldsher

Oh. Mylanta. My life can now be complete on June 22, 2010.

Why isn’t there a youtube book trailer for this? For the love of McCartney, somebody get on this one, stat!

Although you can’t nab copy of Paul is Undead for awhile, you can read about the brain munching escapades of John, Paul, George, and 7th Level Ninja Lord Ringo Starr here and here.

Hungry for more? Try my Happiness is a Warm Bundt Cake. When the undead come for your brains, lob a few sweet slices their way as a distraction.

2 sticks butter
3/4 cup chocolate syrup
8 (reg. size) Milky Way Bars, cut up (plus two more for later)
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 12-cup Bundt Pan.

In 4-quart microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, syrup, and nougat bars. Heat 5 to 5 1/2 minutes, whisking once. Whisk until smooth. Add sugar, buttermilk, vanilla extract and eggs. Stir in the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda.

Pour batter into pan. Bake 1 hour 30 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen cake from pan; invert onto rack to cool.

Melt some more Milky War bars w/ more milk and more butter. Pour goo over warm cake.

BINGE!

Saturday night, folks from my writers’ group came over for a RockBand/Guitar Hero night.

Writers’ Rocksgiving.

I never knew we had so many headbangers and fist pumpers in our scribbler’s gang.

And of course…Scarlet Whisper made an appearance with her signature encore: Helter Skelter on Beatles RockBand.

I lose all inhibition (and dignity) wailing Helter Skelter. Imagine a tone deaf Paul McCartney in Janis Joplin drag performing a Vegas Style lounge act rendition. That kinda sums it up.

Can’t stop myself. I love that song. It’s become my writing anthem.

When I get to the bottom
I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and turn
and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again

Revision after revision after revision. You edit your manuscript until the sight of it makes you want to hurl all over your Chuck Taylors. And then you work on it some more.

Do you don’t you want me to love you
I’m coming down fast but I’m miles above you

You waver. One day, you believe you possess a glimmer of talent. The next (after your query incites a chorus of crickets), you embrace the enormity of your writing suckage.

Tell me tell me come on tell me the answer
and you may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

You turn to your beta readers, your crit group, your spouse and your second grade teacher (or worse, your mom) to analyze what is wrong with your book.

I will you won’t you want me to make you
I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you

You put your manuscript aside. You start a new project.

Tell me tell me tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

You play the waiting game with agents. You persevere.

Look out
Helter skelter
helter skelter
helter skelter
Yeah,
Look out cause here she comes

And one golden day, you get a manuscript request (or two, or six). Maybe it’s a partial. Maybe it’s a full. You’re back on the roller coaster.

When I get to the bottom
I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and turn
and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Well will you won’t you want me to make you
I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you

Look out
Helter skelter
helter skelter
helter skelter

Rejection? Maybe. Who knows.

She’s coming down fast
Yes she is
Yes she is
coming down fast

I can’t stop. The ride makes me hurl sometimes, but it’s too much fun to get off and walk away. Yep, I’m hopping in line again.

Here we go.

Tell me, dear ones, what’s your writing anthem?

Hungry for more? Writing junkies will enjoy my Black Magic Cake

Black Magic Cake

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, cut into pats

3/4 chocolate syrup

8 Milky Way Bars (2.05 oz. each), cut into chunks

2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk (or add 1 tbsp. lemon juice to one cup regular milk)

1 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa (dark choc. Hershey’s is best)

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 cup bundt pan. Put butter, syrup, and Milky Ways in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, whisking once halfway through cooking time. Whisk until smooth.

Add sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs. Then add in flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.

Pour batter into bundt pan. Set bundt pan on a cookie sheet to catch any accidental spillover. Bake for one hour. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting cake from pan.

Glaze with frosting. To make frosting, melt three more Milky Way bars with 3 tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 stick butter.

Overdose, erm…binge.

If you’re a stalker, stop reading this now. I don’t like stalkers.

Don’t start stalking me.

Really.

Secret Confession Time: I do like stalker-ific love stories. I’m all over dark, brooding, obsessive romance novels. I could read them Eight Days a Week.

And since I haven’t posted anything about The Beatles (a band totally worth stalking), I’m giving my list of fave unhealthy obsessions…erm, love stories with corresponding Beatles’ songs.

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights/ Helter Skelter: Let’s lead off with the best freakout feast of gothic fixation ever written.  Emily Bronte’s generation spanning saga is full of creepy adoration. Heathcliffe’s love (or psychosis, whatever…) for Catherine is so intense, it drives him insane. The dude can’t let go of her even after she’s dead!

Stalker-ific Book Quote:

“And I pray one prayer–I repeat it till my tongue stiffens–Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you–haunt me, then!…Be with me always–take any form–drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”

Stalker-ific Beatles’ Lyric:

“When I get to the bottom, I go back to the top of the slide.
Where I stop and turn and I go for a ride;  till I get to the bottom and I see you again….Do you don’t you want me to love you. I’m coming down fast but I’m miles above you. Tell me tell me come on tell me the answer…” —Helter Skelter

Here on Earth/Run For Your Life: In Alice Hoffman’s modern day Wuthering Heights, March Murray returns to her childhood home in Massachussetts. March is drawn like a moth to a  flame to her long lost childhood sweetheart, Hollis. Hollis makes a melancholy, violent Heathcliffe. He’s as reclusive as the unabomber and as handsome as a bodice ripper coverboy. Hoffman’s wordsmith prowess adds extra value to this OCD romance.

Stalker-ific Book Quote:

“Unfinished business always comes back to haunt you, and a man who swears he’ll love you forever isn’t finished with you until he’s done.”

Stalker-ific Beatles Lyric:

“You better run for your life if you can, little girl. Hide your head in the sand little girl. Catch you with another man, that’s the end’a little girl…” —Run For Your Life

The Thorn Birds/Girl: Who knew a love story built on a the forbidden affair between a young girl and a priest could be so steamy? If you stop and think about this book too much, the creepy factor gets to you.  (C’mon, Ralph first meets Meggie when she’s almost a baby. Ick…) Even so, the plot is compelling and tragic. Read the book, then see the Richard Chamberlain/Rachel Ward three hankie mini-series.

Stalker-ific Book Quote:

“There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth…  singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. ..”

Stalker-ific Beatles’ Lyric:

“When I think of all the times I tried to hard to leave her,
she will turn to me and start to cry…”–Girl

Twilight/I Want You (She’s So Heavy): Another secret confession– I snapped up the Twilight series like a flaky, fried meth tweaker scoring a hit.

Is the writing Pulitzer worthy? No.

Are the characters believable? No.

Does Edward Cullen make a hawt vampire stalker? Yes, Oh Mylanta, YES!

Full Disclosure– I consider the Twilight series a trilogy.  I loathe (nay, HATE with an all consuming passion) Breaking Dawn. Stephenie Meyer, you broke my heart with “Renesmee.” Thou art dead to me.

For a full (badly written and spoiler ridden) rant on Breaking Dawn, read my (#1 top rated!) Amazon review.

Stalker-ific Book Quote:

“Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin.”

Stalker-ific Beatles’ Lyric:

“I want you. I want you so bad, babe. I want you.  You know I want you so bad,  it’s driving me mad…Yeah, she’s so heavy…heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy.”

Do you like stalker love stories? If so, which are your favorites?  Leave a comment and enjoy this recipe for Deep, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Cake. Chocoholics, this cake is your brand of heroin.

Deep, Dark Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 canola oil

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 (or two 9 inch round) cake pan. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix in eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for two minutes. Add boiling water. Stir, then pour batter into pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool. Frost cake.

Frosting:

Melt 1/2 cup butter. Stir in 2/3 cup Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and 1/3 cup milk. Stir in 1 tbsp. vanilla. Spread on cake.

Binge!

Yes. I’m in heaven this week.

Unless you’ve been living under a soulless, pop-culture avoiding rock, you’ve heard about a phenomenon known as Beatles RockBand, otherwise known as Beatlemania: 2.0.

Yes, I’ve pre-ordered it. Yes, I’m getting the super-deluxo set complete with Paul’s plastic Höfner Bass guitar.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed I’ve clogged your feed with endless, breathy declarations of love for the Greatest Band of All Time. Sorry. Can’t help it if I love them Eight Days a Week. Doesn’t everyone?

If you’re ready to join the Revolution, here are some of my favorite books and articles about the Fab Four:

The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz

I consider music journalist Spitz’ work the quintessential biography of the band. Yes, you’ll develop enlarged 16 amp biceps carrying this magnum opus around, but hey, all the better to strum your guitar on RockBand, right?

The book begins by painting a portrait of Liverpool society, the culture which gave birth to the Mersey sound. The reader is immersed in the world which nurtured, challenged, and molded John, Paul, George, and Ringo. From there, in depth research delivers the real scoop on the Beatles.

Where else can you read these delicious tidbits?

Both John and Paul lost their mother at a young age; the resulting grief and insecurity would cement and strengthen their relationship in a profound way.

John studied art in school, but flunked out. His subversive comic newsletter viciously lampooned both teachers and handicapped people.

Ringo Starr (a.k.a Richard Starkey) nearly died from appendicitis; a resulting infection kept him an invalid for two years. During his illness, left handed Ringo first learned to drum on everyday objects.

The lyric “I am the eggman” is a reference to a member of the Beatles’ entourage who enjoyed cracking eggs on women during, ahem, intimate encounters.

The Beatles pioneered use of the multi-track recording system, instrument feedback, and distortion in Rock and Roll music. (Okay, so maybe you already knew that…)

After reading Spitz’ biography, you’ll never see the Fab Four in the same light again. John, the gentle peace-nik? Oh, the irony. If you’re serious about understanding the Beatles’ legacy, this is the book for you.

The Rough Guide to the Beatles by Chris Ingham

While Spitz’ book is hefty doorstop, Ingham’s guide is a pocket sized compendium of band minutiae. If you don’t have time for the full length Fab Four canon, this “Beatles’ for Dummies” style paperback is for you. This one ranks high with me for great commentary on each and every Beatles’ album, song, movie, and book. It even devotes a whole chapter to the elusive 5th Beatle. There are several supposed candidates in the running; you can be the judge. (BTW, I vote for producer George Martin.).

Still hungry for more? Check out these articles:

Why the Beatles Broke Up: The Inside Story by Mikal Gilmore (Rolling Stone issue #1086)

In this special issue (available at newsstands now) Gilmore combs through every RS interview and primary source to deliver a concise, play by play analysis of The End. Yes, it’s a rehash. A well done rehash. The online supplement (available at http://www.rollingstone.com/issue1086 ) highlights a timeline of quotes from band members. Each petty and heartless snipe is listed. Heartbreaking stuff.

Paul: “John’s in love with Yoko, and he’s no longer in love with the other three of us…” (London Evening Standard, 1970)

George Harrison: “We should die. “It’s time to break up.” John Lennon, irritated by George: “Who gets the children?” (Get Back: The Unauthorized of the Beatles’ Let It Be Disaster)

Last but not least, this recent NY times article:

Generation Gap Narrows, and Beatles are a Bridge by Sam Roberts (NY Times, 8/12/09)

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/12/us/12gap.html

Roberts insight into the band’s legacy are validating indeed for the like of fans everywhere. It’s no surprise the Pew Research asserts the Beatles are still the favorite band of every age group from 16-64. But hey, full disclosure, I’m biased, right?

Still hungry after reading about Everybody’s Favorite Band? Then binge on Everybody’s Favorite Chocolate Sheetcake:

This recipe came from my mother…it’s one just about every family in OK and TX has tucked away in a cookbook or file.

Ingredients:

Cake:

2 stick of butter

½ cup water

4 tbsp. cocoa

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten, by the eggman, of course

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup buttermilk (no butter milk? Add 1 tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup reg. milk)

Frosting:

1 stick butter (Yes, more of the real stuff. Use margarine, and it’s your funeral)

4 tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. cinnamon

6 tbsp. milk

1 box (1lb.) powdered sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla (yes, a whole stinking tablespoon!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, heat margarine, water, and cocoa together over a low to medium heat. Stir, stir, stir until everything comes together…right now. Cue the bassline! Pour melted mixture over flour and sugar; add the eggs, baking soda, buttermilk, cinnamon, and salt. Bake in a sheetcake pan (better) or 9 by 13 pan (will still work) at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Frost while still a little warm. (I didn’t say Helter Skelter hot!)

Frosting Directions:

Melt butter, mix in cocoa, cinnamon, and milk. Stir, stir, stir. When you’ve smoothed it out, pour it over the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add nuts, if you’re feeling Sgt. Pepper-y. Mix well and frost the warm cake. Climb aboard the Yellow Submarine and enjoy.

Binge. This cake goes well with just about every Beatles album but Revolver. Don’t know why, it just doesn’t.

You tell me, who’s your favorite Beatle? What’s your favorite Beatles’ song? Fire away. I must warn you, any comments which hate on the Fab Four may be summarily blindfolded and shot.